In Minnesota, divorce is called dissolution of marriage. For married couples, the dissolution results in the severing of the marital relationship, the resolution of custodial disputes, and the division of assets as well as debts.
Divorce cases are conducted in family court. Once the final papers are entered in the court’s records, the marriage can be dissolved or terminated. These final papers are referred to as Judgement and Decree in the legal language.
As experienced divorce lawyers in Hutchinson, MN, we know that the Judgement and Decree include the court’s decision on other legal matters as well. These are related to child custody, child support, visitation, and division of property as well as debts.
Let’s find out how to file for divorce in Hutchinson, MN and the various requirements.
A. What Are the Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Hutchinson, MN?
In order to qualify for divorce, Minnesota law requires the separating couple to mandatorily fulfil certain requirements. These include:
At least one spouse must have lived in Minnesota for at least 180 days.
In cases where children are involved and the couple disagrees on custody and visitation matters, they must attend a divorce education class.
B. What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Minnesota?
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. This means that divorce can be granted without considering the wrongdoings of either spouse.
Neither party must find grounds for divorce, but seek dissolution on the basis of irreconcilable differences. All you need to prove is that there has been “an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship.”
But, fault may come into play when decisions on alimony and property division need to be taken.
C. How to File for Divorce in Minnesota?
Filing for divorce in Hutchinson, Minnesota involves the following steps:
1. Preparing Forms
The divorce process starts with the proper completion of certain forms. You can avail these forms online from the government website or from the local courthouse or the law library. Your lawyer will assist you in completing the forms. Alternatively, you can check out the videos on the government website to understand how you can do so yourself.
The party that initiates the divorce is called the “petitioner,” whereas the party that receives the divorce papers is the “respondent.” The petitioner needs to have the following documents ready:
The Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Certification of dissolution.
Financial affidavit, if child support issues are involved.
Certificate of representation.
Any other document as required by local court rules.
If the respondent disagrees with the petitioner’s terms of divorce, he/she must prepare an “answer and verification.”
2.Filing out the Forms
Once the forms are ready, you will have to file them with the court, and send one copy to your spouse and retain one yourself. You can file the documents in the local courthouse in the county where you or your spouse live.
You will have to pay a fee to file your documents. To avoid the fee, you can complete a fee waiver form, which can be obtained from the clerk of the court. This form will be reviewed by the court. If approved, you will not have to pay to file your case documents.
When you submit your documents, the clerk of the court will stamp each form with the date. A file will then be created in court. You will have to send the signed and stamped photocopies of the documents to the respondent as soon as possible. This brings us to the next point.
3. Serving the Documents
Service of process ensures that both parties involved in the divorce know about the goings-on, and have an opportunity to present their side of the story. Hence, it is a crucial step.
If you are planning to serve your spouse with the documents, and he/she has not hired a lawyer, you can send them to his/her most recent home address. If, however, he/she has engaged a lawyer, serve the forms at the lawyer’s office instead.
Special service rules come into effect if you plan to serve your spouse within Minnesota. Under this, you have two options.
If the respondent is willing to cooperate, you can mail the documents to him/her, and also provide an acknowledgement of service form for his/her signature. This acknowledgement should then be filed with the court.
You also have the option of asking the sheriff or a professional process server to locate your spouse and “personally” serve him/her a copy of the summons and petition. You will then have to file the affidavit of service with the court.
These rules are usually applicable to all cases, unless you are trying to serve someone who may be very hard to locate due to serving in the military, being in jail, or other factors.
D. Which Financial Disclosures Are Necessary?
The petitioner as well as the respondent are required to provide a financial disclosure statement. It details their financial condition, clearly mentioning their assets, debts, income, and expenses. This helps the judge decide on the appropriate child support amount, how the marital property and debt should be divided, and whether or not a spouse should receive alimony.
The financial disclosure should include supporting documents such as income statements, tax returns, and pay stubs. Make sure you provide clear and truthful details when completing this form.
Depending on your unique circumstances, getting a divorce in Hutchinson, MN can be either a straightforward or a convoluted process. A lot depends on the ability and willingness of you and your spouse to reach an agreement on all the matters involved in the divorce. Hopefully, the above information will help you understand the fundamentals of filing for a divorce in the state of Minnesota.
Reach Out to an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Hutchinson, MN
The final verdict in a divorce case can have a lasting impact on the quality of your life. It is, therefore, crucial to have a qualified and skilled divorce attorney on your side. We understand this and are willing to work diligently to bring you positive outcomes, depending on your case facts. For a free consultation with a practiced Hutchinson divorce attorney, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. at (855) 976-2444.